by Laura Tyler; DVD video
a poetically crafted glimpse into the heart and soul of beekeepers   (2011-12-03)
This carefully, poetically crafted glimpse into the heart and soul of why people keep bees is a delight to me every time I watch it. Before this film, I had never seen a movie that even approaches getting across the spiritual undercurrent of beekeeping (that beekeepers often don't even talk about, or if they do they don't know how to express it) and "Sister Bee" was far beyond my expectations of what was even possible in that direction. I'm a pretty harsh movie critic, even of movies I like and even after the several times I've seen this one, I am hard pressed to find a single thing I'd change about it. The music is inspiring, the rhythm and flow of the movie never lets you get lulled into losing interest. There is this beautiful rhythm of contrasts that uses bits of old footage of beekeeping, with chronologically appropriate music to provide pace, comic relief and just the bare necessity of basic bee biology education to give a context to what the beekeepers in the film are saying; contrasted with the beauty, energy and serenity of the bees and the relationship that each of the beekeepers in the film has with them. The film does not in any way attempt to be a film about the natural history of bees or how to be a beekeeper, or make any other point which would have detracted from its core, and yet in subtle ways it does without trying to. Needless to say, if you didn't get the picture yet, I am a huge fan of this film. There is no "wasted motion" in it. Everything there is, in Lakota terms, "hecetu yelo"-"just right". Not too much, not too little. It is very subtle, and not at all preachy about anything.
I think you should all write to your local public broadcasting stations and request it by name. I you are a beekeeper, you should also buy it and show it to your non-beekeeping friends. If nothing else it will give them a glimpse into the appeal of bees and beekeeping and a beekeeper's relationship to the bees, to replace their current opinion of you, now that they know you keep bees, which is probably either awe that you are so brave or the nagging suspicion that you are insane to want to work with millions of stinging insects. If you're not a beekeeper and want to understand a beekeeper, this is the best movie I know of to bring you a glimpse of the magic of bees.
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